No time during the Royal Gathering conference weekend, so I took an early train to The Hague on Friday to spend the afternoon there shopping and especially visiting exhibitions.
At the moment the National Archive (next to the central railway station) shows the exhibition “24 uur met Willem. Koning van Nederland en België” (24 hours with William. King of the Netherlands and Belgium). The exhibition opened on 28 August 2015 and will be there until 17 July 2016. 24 hours refers to the huge amount of time he spent in his office, signing documents. He worked hard to lay the foundation of the present kingdom. He took initiatives for roads, canals, railroads … The exhibition shows important documents from his time, like the first constitution, the first speech to the throne, Belgium becoming its own country, Willem’s abdication papers … also one of his working outfits, personal notes, his writing desk. It is quite an interactive exhibition and some important people in his life “speak” about what he achieved with their help. There is a Belgium-Netherlands game (unfortunately hardly royal questions) and you can have yourself get appointed in a special job. The exhibition is not very big but fun. Most texts in English also. Another exhibition about him is at the Stadsmuseum in Gent, Belgium, right now.
In case you’re more into fashion than into history, the exhibition “Ode aan de Nederlandse Mode” (Ode to Dutch Fashion) in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag might be more your taste. Just a bit of a royal connection, but more than worth a visit. I enjoyed the sometimes pretty strange and often colourful designs. But of course I was there to see Queen’s Máximas blue inauguration dress by Jan Taminiau again – the real one. I had seen it at Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn in 2013, but then you were just to move on quickly. Here you were allowed to watch as long as you wanted and even take photos (without flash; I wasn’t the only one who accidentally really used it – in my case only one picture). Finally time to study the dress a bit better and look at the gorgeous decoration.
Furthermore there was a colourful dress by Spijkers and Spijkers that Máxima also has. And a dress from a Jan Taminiau collection that reminds of the dress Máxima wore to the party the evening before the wedding of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg and his Stéphanie three years ago. Furthermore designs of many known Dutch designers, including Viktor & Rolf (remember the many bows on Princess Mabels wedding dress and other clothes?). The museum itself is worth a visit anyway, especially when you’re into art: Van Gogh, Monet, Matisse, Mondriaan …